Iran's Press TV Runs Into Trouble In Britain
Based in Tehran, Press TV takes, in its own words, "revolutionary steps as the first Iranian international news network, broadcasting in English on a round-the-clock basis."
If it were a private media outlet, it might be congratulated: broadcasting news and opinion in Iran is a risky business, after all. Alas, Press TV is essentially a government-funded propaganda arm for the Iranian regime. Being a media stooge for an inhuman, brutal government undoubtedly has its perks, if you're willing to occasionally ignore the stench of evil, but Press TV seems to have run up against a wall in Britain.
This wall is Ofcom, Britain's "Independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries." As reported by The Guardian, Press TV has run smack up against this wall for airing an interview with journalist Maziar Bahari ( who was held captive in Iran for 118 days ) that was obtained while Bahari was in an Iranian jail. Bahari filed a complaint after the interview was aired, saying it was only obtained after he was told by an interrogator that he was suspected of espionage by the Iranian government, and that he could receive the death penalty unless he made a "televised statement about the role of the western media in the post-presidential election demonstrations".
Bahari took the deal - who wouldn't? And now, Press TV is in hot water with Ofcom for airing the results of the Iranian regime's handiwork in the U.K. According to the Guardian report:
Ofcom has ruled that Iran's state-run Press TV is responsible for a serious breach of UK broadcasting rules and could face a fine for airing an interview with Maziar Bahari, the Newsweek journalist arrested covering the Iranian presidential election in 2009, that was obtained by force while he was held in a Tehran jail.
In summary Ofcom said Press TV's presentation of Bahari was unfair because it "omitted material facts and was placed in a context in which inferences adverse to Mr Bahari could be drawn".
The media regulator also said that Press TV failed to get his consent and this "contributed to the overall unfairness to Mr Bahari in the item broadcast".
If you care to believe Lauren Booth ( who works for Press T.V. ), Ofcom's ruling is part of a larger trend. According to Press T.V. itself, the British Bank froze the bank account of the Iranian broadcaster's British partner, Press T.V. Ltd., late last year, an act that Booth referred to in an Al Jazeera editorial as "commercial terrorism."
Others who don't work indirectly for the Iranian government might prefer to think of this freeze as keeping Iran out of British business and media. Regardless, the commercial terrorists appear to have scored another small victory. Press TV's future in Britain may be limited.
Related. Meanwhile, as Macleans.ca's Michael Petrou reports, Press T.V. manages to keep up on current affairs in Canada: "A recent dispatch covered Ottawa’s Tulip Festival." Nice to see they're keeping busy.
Related-er. Terry Glavin, who features fairly regularly at The Propagandist, had an encounter of his own with a Press T.V. journalist back in the day.